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Sarah Addison Allen is one of the main reasons I write magical realism. (And just in case you’ve been living under a rock while reading my blog, Bryan Fuller is the other). I’ve been a fan of hers since I stumbled across Garden Spells back in 2008. Since then, I have been obsessed with her books, even having a co-worker drive me to the bookstore when I couldn’t drive for six months after my seizure so I could get The Girl Who Chased the Moon the day it came out.

And though she’s a fellow NC writer, I haven’t had the opportunity to stalk see her on tour. Until yesterday. Her newest book, Lost Lake, came out the same day as Love and Cupcakes, and she has a small tour around the state to celebrate. And she has a lot to celebrate this time around. She is two years into remission from some pretty serious cancer. She compared her diagnosis to being lost in the woods, and as the hits just kept coming with additional bad health news and chemo fog and the fear that she wouldn’t be able to write again, she said it was like being lost in the woods at night in the snow being chased by gnomes (yes, gnomes!). It gave me chills listening to her talk so candidly about what she’d been though and how she’s come out of it with an optimism that is enviable.

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Then she read the prologue from Lost Lake. If you EVER get the chance to listen to Sarah Addison Allen read her own work, DO IT! It’s a completely different experience listening to the gorgeous, decadent descriptions in her sweet Southern drawl. The story felt alive, like I was living it right along with Eby and George on a bridge in France. I don’t think I will ever read her books without her voice in my head now. And it will be amazing.

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Sarah is charming and funny and caring and immensely loveable. When she signed books for me (and one I picked up for my friend Rachel), she said how cute my pixie cut was. Me being me, said thanks and told her it was because of my own health problems (yay, brain surgery!). She asked how I was doing now and then hugged me before I left. Seriously, I almost died of over-fangirling. I didn’t think I could adore her any more than I already did, but she proved me wrong.

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